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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



Amazon Prime Video’s Jubilee: A celebration of the golden era of Hindustani cinema

Amazon Prime Video’s Jubilee: A celebration of the golden era of Hindustani cinema

When a director like Vikramaditya Motwane charts new territory in the shape of a 10-episode web series, with lip-sync songs, something he has never done before, there is high curiosity value. It’s called Jubilee and the trailer was launched at Four Seasons Hotel, Mahalakshmi, Mumbai, on Friday afternoon. Starting just 30 minutes after the scheduled time, the proceedings ended within an hour, which is commendable by comparison with most such events.

Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane and created by Soumik Sen and Vikramaditya Motwane, Jubilee has been produced by Andolan Films (of Vikramaditya), in association with Reliance Entertainment and Phantom Studios. Motwane has directed only six films, though he has produced many more.

The series has an ensemble cast, led by Prosenjit Chatterjee, Aditi Rao Hydari, Aparshakti Khurana, Wamiqa Gabbi, Sidhant Gupta, Nandish Sandhu, and Ram Kapoor, and features soundtrack composed by Amit Trivedi. There are as many as 10 songs in the series, and this was a pre-condition set by Aparna Purohit, Head of India Originals, at Amazon Prime Video, when Vikramaditya pitched the project to Amazon. Growing up in Delhi, Aparna was a big movie buff, and songs were inherent in the golden era of the Hindustani film industry, the 50s, 60s and 70s. In fact Jubilee takes us to the Bombay of 1947.

Incorporating so many songs, and recreating the ambience, meant very high budgets, and Amazon was ready to back the project on this front too. In fact, during the interaction, there was some fun and mirth about budget, but it was all in good humour. One of these songs was performed on the occasion, which had a distinct O. P. Nayyar feel to it. Jubilee’s songs have been penned by Kausar Munir, who has two generations of literature behind her and the music director is Amit Trivedi.

“When Vikram first came to me with the story, I instantly connected with the character of Srikant Roy. He is a person who lives and breathes cinema and has dedicated his life to it. As someone who has worked in the industry for four decades, I could immediately relate to that! Jubilee represents a glorious time of Indian Cinema, and as an actor I, feel responsible for doing right by it. I don’t think there could’ve been a better series for me to make my OTT debut with!”, said Prosenjit Chatterjee       

Aditi Rao Hydari opened up about the series, saying, "Sumitra Kumari has been an incredibly challenging and layered character to play. She is a star, she is powerful and has the world at her feet except for that one thing that she really wants, it’s what makes her vulnerable, and eventually becomes her north star. Vikramaditya Motwane is such an amazing and sensitive director and he is completely an actor’s director. Atul Sabharwal and him have created a story that is beautiful and compelling and it is a joy and honour to be able to share this with viewers all over the world with Prime Video’s global reach.”

Aparshakti Khurana shared, “Jubilee for me as an actor was a complete no-brainer. When I heard the story, and especially Binod’s journey, I knew I had to do this. It is one of the most challenging characters I have played to date, but also the most rewarding. Doing theatre in Delhi, I was always given dark, menacing roles. Here, there was a volte face, with comedy after comedy. Vikramaditya Motwane is a maverick, he has been able to bring out the best in not just me, but the entire cast and crew. This is a series that is really close to my heart and now with Prime Video we’re going to be able to take it to audiences across the world! In fact, I feel have just been born on screen, and this film, after a dozen comedies, will emerge as my most significant role.”

“For me, working with a director like Vikramaditya Motwane and playing a character like Nilofer has been a dream come true. Her journey in the series is so powerful and inspiring, that I knew I had to play this character. Every scene of the series is a work of art; it has been a surreal experience. Stories like Jubilee aren’t made often, it is my absolute privilege to be a part of this. I’m thrilled to know that Jubilee will premiere on Prime Video globally and audiences worldwide will be able to witness this beautiful show,” said Wamiqa Gabbi.

Sidhant Gupta shared, “Jubilee for me is one big emotion. Sure, there’s pain and fear, but there’s Love and Wonder. Jay Khanna believes in the magic this life has to offer and that is what he brings to the celluloid. He doesn’t know how to give up, no matter what life throws at him, that was the only common thread between him and me, in real life. Finding this character within has been fascinating. I hope Jay Khanna makes the viewers fall in love with their dreams all over again.

Ram Kapoor delighted the audience by saying that, “Within every Punjabi, there is a streak called Punjaba. They try to keep it tightly hidden, but at the opportune moment, it surfaces. That is the kind of role I am playing in Jubilee. For the first time, I am not acting at all, just being myself, all thanks to Vikramaditya Motwane.”

A drama described as Glamour, Glitz, Aspirations and Betrayals, in Jubilee, Vikramaditya Motwane has represented an entire era, and not one or two films. “Of course, the effort has been to re-create an entire era, over 10 hours, and not a particular film. There are some references to personalities that you might identify with, others are subtler, but they are all there. Part One (Episodes One-Five) of Jubilee will premiere on April 7, with Part Two (Episodes Six-10) releasing the following week on April 14 

The supporting cast includes Shweta Basu Prasad, Arun Govil, Sukhmanee Lamba, Aarya Bhatta, Narottam Bain, Alok Arora and Suhani Popli. Jubilee is a layered drama that chronicles the lives of a studio boss, his movie-star wife, a trusted aide, a rising star, a nautch girl and a refugee and the gambles they’re willing to take in pursuit of their dreams, passion, ambition and love.

Amazon Prime offers unlimited streaming of the latest and exclusive movies, TV shows, stand-up comedy, Amazon Originals, ad-free music listening through Amazon Prime Music, free fast delivery on India’s largest selection of products, early access to top deals, unlimited reading with Prime Reading, and mobile gaming content with Prime Gaming, all available for an annual membership of Rs. 1499.  Consumers can also buy Prime Video Mobile Edition at INR 599 per year—the single-user, mobile-only annual plan provides access to Prime Video’s catalogue of entertainment

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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